Although most known for being the front man of the groove metal powerhouse, Pantera, Philip H. Anselmo has released far more albums away from the Cowboys From Hell than he ever did with them. While the ultra-success that came with Pantera earned him blind allegiance, it’s his million and a half underground side projects that garnered him cult status. Before the once side-project, Down, became a full time gig, the first outing Anselmo offered in the post-Pantera world was Superjoint Ritual. A gritty, raw punk/thrash hybrid that would release two records in two years and seemingly disappear overnight in 2004 due to a fight between Anselmo and fellow founding member, Joe Fazzio.

In November of 2016, it seemed out of nowhere that Superjoint Ritual (now just Superjoint due to legal issues) returned with their first record in 13 years, Caught In The Gears Of Application and it’s not exactly what I expected. The debut, Use Once And Destroy, definitely lacked the pizazz of Pantera but it made up for it in easy to remember cross-over thrash with Anselmo bringing back some of that raw energy he was missing on the last Pantera record. While it wasn’t necessarily the greatest record to ever come out, I found it and still find it thoroughly enjoyable. Even though the sophomore, A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred, started to fade heavily as the album got into the later tracks, it still overall wasn’t a bad listen. The breakup seemed to have come at the perfect time because a 3rd album in 2004 probably would have been a complete burnout of ideas.

13 years later and I was completely right. Cutting right to the chase, this record is an uninspired awful mess of parts lumped together and called songs. When Phil released his debut solo record in 2013, I had similar things to say about that album. It was a frustrating 45 onslaught of parts strung together, at times not necessarily cohesively either, that took quite a while to digest fully before I was able to come to the conclusion that I actually liked it. It bordered on maniacal and genius and quite possibly was the benefit of a simple case of luck in pulling it all off. The new Superjoint record follows the same mentality of throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Very few of the album’s 11 tracks have any semblance of formula and not much in form of substance either. I won’t say it’s all bad because there are riffs here and there that stick out and are worthy of praise, but when you are clocking in at 20% of overall material, you should have saved some of them for something else/better. Even Phil can’t muster the energy to come off like he gives even half a shit about the record. Everything about this, especially Anselmo seems incredibly forced.

Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie and not waken them. Superjoint Ritual was a fun band that burned at both ends of the candle. The flame died out in 2004 and the ashes should have never have been lit again. Knowing Phil’s inconsistencies in keeping projects, not named Down, afloat, Superjoint will probably go away again just as quickly as they came back. This album is incredibly skippable.